The streets of Basel, Switzerland are very quiet today, it being a Bank Holiday here. Many Orchestra members went for a walk to shake off the many hours spent travelling – flights from Pittsburgh to Frankfurt via Chicago, and then several hours by bus to Basel. Almost no people at all are out and most shops are closed, giving an eerie feel to the place. The very oldest part of town is across the Rhine river, but even near the hotel the streets can be narrow and full of character.
We are definitely in Switzerland: a tall case dating from a celebration of the city in 1892 houses time, temperature, and weather gauges built at the end of the 19th century. All the instruments were built here in Basel.
You also realize you’re not in Kansas anymore when a Maypole comes into view at the next corner. A small evergreen tree sits proudly atop the pole. In the background, a Starbuck’s!
This small rooftop garden is fiercely guarded by a steadfast crow and a small white cat, both made of weatherproof material. The two figures seem to have the pigeons fooled, and the garden is beautiful.